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Friday, May 11, 2012

How to Break Bad Habits And Make Changes

This is a new guest post by our latest member to join us. Check out about this author at the end of this post.
Rare is the person who does not have at least one bad habit they would like to break. In fact most of us probably have more than one. However, as Mark Twain once observed, "Habit is habit and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs and out the door a step at a time." But if we can't just fling our bad habits out the window, coaxing them out the door need not be an endless process. In fact, most habits can be broken in less than a single month of serious effort, and even the worst habits seldom take more than several months. Here are five simple steps you can make towards breaking your bad habits.
Be Aware
It's hard to change something you don't know the extent of, and most of us have a tendency to underestimate the degree of our bad habits. People with bad habits are notorious for thinking they indulge in them less than they really do. This is just human nature, we all tend to magnify our good qualities and downplay our bad. Therefore write down every time you do what you want to change so that you have a realistic idea of the size of the change you want to make.
Be Motivated
Simply knowing what you should change doesn't mean that you will change. Many of us go long periods after we've decided a certain behavior is not good for us still continuing with that behavior. No outside force has the power to compel you to stop your bad habits. Only you can provide the motivation, so don't try to quit your bad habit until you feel sufficiently psyched to do it, because if you don't really want to quit than your chances of success are poor.
Be Committed
Once you've really decided you need to break that habit and that you really want to do it, the question becomes how committed you are. Many are the people who say they should, or would or could if only, but who never actually do anything. Plans are fine, but are not worth much if they remain only plans. Only by committing yourself to action can the process of breaking your habit truly begin.
Be Consistent
We've all had the experience of trying to do something, but then approaching it from so many different angles that in the end nothing really gets done. That is a common occurrence when trying to break habits, so once you've decided on a course of action - I will smoke one less cigarette a day for example - then do that and only that. Don't speed up, slow down or alter your habit breaking plan or you may soon find you have no plan at all.
Be Kind
The person you should be kind to when trying to break a bad habit is yourself! Don't beat yourself up over past failures or tell yourself bad things about yourself to "force yourself" into quitting with shame and bad feelings. Few of us succeed at things we find unpleasant, and making your habit quitting a form of self torment can only increase the chances of failure. Instead praise yourself for trying and congratulate yourself for each milestone reached, however small. Give yourself little rewards when you do the right thing. By attempting to change yourself in a positive way you are improving yourself and the world so give yourself all the praise you deserve.
If you use these five steps and are true to your goal, your eventual success is all but guaranteed.

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